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French Designations

Aircraft

The French air force never had a special designation system. There was some standardisation in designation systems of aircraft, but this applied equally well to civilian aircraft. Most of the time it used an acronym for the name of the manufacturer, and a sequential number. The air force did append subscripts to indicate the function of an aircraft, for example 'C1' for single-seat fighters. This was also present when designations were painted on aircraft, usually on the tail. It does not indicate a subtype.

The numbering method used before WWII can be confusing. To the number of the basic design, which was often also used for the prototype, were appended digits to indicate variations in the design. Hence the Potez 54, 540, 541, 542, and 543 were all closely related designs.

Translations of French names

    Aiglon                        Eaglet

    Alcyon                        Kingfisher

    Alize                        Tradewind

    Alouette                        Lark

    Aquilon                        Northwind

    Coleoptere                        Beetle

    Criquet                        Cricket

    Cyclone                        Cyclone

    Dauphin                        Dolphin

    Ecureuil                        Squirrel

    Entreprenant                Enterprising

    Epervier                        Sparrowhawk

    Espadon                        Swordfish, Broadsword

    Etendard                        Banner

    Farfadet                        Hobgoblin, Elf

    Flamant                        Flamingo

    Fleuret                        Ferret, Foil

    Fregate                        Frigate (bird)

    Frelon                        Hornet

    Fulgur                        Lightning

    Gemeaux                        Twins

    Gerfaut                        Gerfalcon

    Goeland                        Gull

    Griffon                        Griffon

    Grognard                        Grumbler

    Guerrier                        Warrior

    Lama                        Lama

    Milan                        Kite

    Mirage                        Mirage

    Mistral                        Mistral

    Luciole                        Glowworm

    Mystere                        Mystery

    Narval                        Narwhal

    Ouragan                        Hurricane

    Pelican                        Pelican

    Phalene                        Moth

    Rafale                        Squall

    Ramier                        Woodpigeon

    Simoun                        Simoon

    Taon                        Horsefly

    Toucan                        Toucan

    Triton                        Triton

    Vanneau                        Vane

    Vautour                        Vulture

    Zephyr                        Zephyr


Emmanuel Gustin
[email protected]

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